• The PC Clinic

5 Things You Are Probably Doing That Puts Your Computer (And You) At Risk

Our computers have become more that a daily tool. They have become a way of life. We use them every day to check email, stay in touch with friends and family, check our account balances, pay bills, play games, watch movies and even manage smart home settings. Where would we be without these amazing devices?

So why then, do we treat them as if they were invincible? We all maintain our vehicles. Why don’t we use the same care with our computers?

Here are 5 things that you are probably doing that is putting at risk your computer, your data, and even yourself.

Ignoring updates - We’ve all seen that pop-up, “Updates are available. Click here to update now.” But we’re busy! We’ve got things to do, and don’t have time for this update nonsense, right? We couldn’t be more wrong. Going without updates allows any known vulnerabilities to go unchecked, leaving us vulnerable to hacking, malicious software, and data breaches. Most software, program and operating system updates are released to address these issues as they become known. Ignoring them is like locking your car when one of the doors doesn’t lock. What good does that do? Whether it’s your favorite browser, the operating system, or just Java bugging you again… you should make the time to run those updates.  

Using the same password for our accounts - I know, I know. One password is difficult enough to remember. Seriously though. One key for all your locks? This can’t ever be secure and we know it. There are services for keeping track of your passwords. Granted they do need an even more secure password to protect all of your accounts, but once you get the hang of that one, all the others are remembered for you. A few examples are Dashlane, LastPass, and Apple’s Keychain.

Not doing regular scans for problems - We have every reason to perform regular maintenance on our computer just like we do our cars. For some reason, it seems to escape our attention. Oil change every 3 months? Check. Computer scan more than once a year? Oops… You should manually perform a full computer scan with your security software once per season - at minimum. Once a month is an even better idea. The more often you scan, the shorter the scan time.

Minor problems become big issues faster than we realize - A noisy computer is a sick computer. Clicking, rattling, fan working harder than normal, any noise that wasn’t there when you first got it. These are all reasons to get the computer checked out. Any one of these issues could turn into something devastating if they are allowed to continue unchecked. Noisy fan? The computer won’t be able to cool down. Noisy hard drive? You could lose all of your data. Regular and preventive maintenance are always less expensive that a rescue after the fact.    

Your important data only exists in one place - If your data exists on only one device, you are at extremely high risk of losing it forever. Accounting, documents, family photos, vacation videos, whatever the data may be, it’s important. In fact, the only reason we have computers is because of the data the gets sent through and stored on them. Since the data is the most important part, why then would you ever let it exist in only one place? What if that device fails? What if it gets water dumped on it? What if there were a fire? What would you do?  You need a backup of some kind, whether cloud based or home based, it is essential to duplicate the important data you can’t afford to lose.

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